Emma Coronel Aispuro, the wife of Mexico's most notorious drug kingpin Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán was arrested on Monday in Virginia on charges related to her alleged involvement in international drug trafficking, authorities said. She is scheduled to make her initial appearance in federal court on Tuesday via video conference, federal prosecutors said.
According to the complaint, FBI believes that Coronel took messages from Guzmán to his lieutenants, associates and four sons before and while El Chapo was in a Mexican prison. She is also accused of scheming to help orchestrate El Chapo's escape from a Mexico prison in 2015.
Coronel, 31, who is a joint US-Mexican citizen, was arrested from Dulles international airport on charges of conspiring to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, five kilograms or more of cocaine, 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and 500 grams or more of methamphetamines for unlawful importation into the country, according to a news release from the Justice Department. She is also accused of scheming and orchestrating her husband 2015 escape from Altiplano prison in Mexico.
Guzman made a daring escape through a mile-long tunnel from the high-security Altiplano prison on July 11, 2015. According to a criminal complaint, "there is probable cause to believe that, from at least in or about 2014 and at least on or about January 19, 2017, Coronel did knowingly, intentionally, and willfully conspired with Guzmán and others" to distribute drugs.
However, the allegations don't end here. After Guzmán was once again arrested in Mexico in January 2016, Coronel allegedly plotted yet another prison escape before he was extradited to the United States in January 2017, officials said.
Playing an Active Role
The complaint further says that Coronel had been playing an active role in running the cartel, both with Guzman and while he was in prison. The complaint says that Coronel allegedly worked with Guzmán's sons to orchestrate the 2015 escape plot, which included buying a plot of land near the prison, firearms and an armored truck and smuggling Guzman a GPS watch to ensure the escape tunnel reached his cell.
Guzmán, who prosecutors said headed a global narcotics empire involved in corruption and violence for years, was convicted after a jury trial in 2019, and sentenced to life plus 30 years in federal prison. That said Coronel has been quite loyal to her husband all through. During his trial, Coronel would attend court every day, even when evidence included text messages between her husband and one of his mistresses.
Interestingly, Coronel's name emerged as one of the important members of the cartel only during the trial. Prior to that, authorities neither suspected her role in international drug trafficking nor plotting her hubby's escape.
Coronel was born in Santa Clara, California and is the daughter of Ines Coronel Barreras, one of the lieutenants in the Sinaloa cartel. Guzman married her in 2007 after meeting her at a local festival in Mexico. The leggy brunette was 17 at the time, while Guzmán was already 51. Although he had several mistresses, Coronel reportedly never had a problem with that. The two have nine-year-old twin daughters.
She came under the spotlight during Guzman's trial in New York, when she would be swarmed by the media for her fashionable dresses, which would often match her husband's attire in court. Coronel is also a former teenage beauty queen and the mother of Guzman's twin daughters.
She appeared on the VH1 reality-TV show 'Cartel Crew' in November 2019. After Guzman's sentencing, Coronel moved to launch a clothing line in his name.